San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Couples Find Love – and Discounts – in the Air Around Valentine’s Day

Whether you still call it Día de los Enamorados, prefer Día de San Valentín or are up-to-date with Día de la Amistad, Valentine’s Day is upon us once again. And throughout the country, hotels and restaurants are offering special deals for you and that special someone to help Cupid’s arrow find its mark.

If you’re looking for some romance by the beach, Gaia Hotel & Reserve in Manuel Antonio, on the central Pacific coast, is offering a four-course dinner in its five-star La Luna Restaurant. For the main course, diners will have the choice of pan-seared tuna and prawns with jasmine rice, or rack of lamb with pancetta and rosemary and honey sauce. Live instrumental Latin music will be played throughout. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. and costs $45 per person, plus tax and service. For reservations, call 2777-9797, extension 570.

If a laid-back Valentine’s on the Caribbean is more your style, the Hotel Colón Caribe, 20 kilometers south of Limón, is offering accommodations, a special Valentine’s dinner, glass of wine, breakfast and a pontoon tour for $131 per couple. For information or reservations, call 2256-5520 or e-mail

To get you and your lover to your desired Valentine’s destination, Nature Air’s “Love Is in the Air” promotion, valid through Feb. 16, features two-for-one fares to selected destinations for the month of February. Call 2299-6000 and use the code “amor.”

Prefer to stay on land? Then opportunities abound for the perfect Valentine’s meal in and around the capital.

In downtown San José, the Aurola Holiday Inn’s two restaurants will be celebrating the occasion with Valentine’s specials. Its first-floor restaurant, Tropicana, will be hosting a lunch buffet both Feb. 13 and 14 for ¢5,500 ($10) per person. For dinner with a view, the 17th-floor El Mirador will be offering a fixed menu that includes a half-bottle of wine, an appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert for ¢7,500 ($14) per person. For information and reservations, call 2523-1000.

If a little gambling makes your heart go pitter-patter, Casino Club Colonial in San José will host live music on Valentine’s Day, along with a special buffet and cash prizes. For more information, contact 2258-2807.

Aya Sofya Turkish restaurant in eastern San José’s trendy Barrio Escalante plans a night of special entertainment, featuring a belly-dancing performance at 8 p.m. The menu will include at least five special dishes including lamb, fish, chicken and a vegetarian option for about ¢5,000 to ¢5,900 ($9 to $11). Space is limited, so reservations are required; call 2224-5050. The restaurant is 150 meters north of Bagelmen’s, across from Intensa language school.

Tico Times cooking columnist Marco González and his business partner, Mario Bello, are preparing a three-course menu for Valentine’s Day at the new Oasis Café in the western suburb of Escazú. Dinner will start off with a roasted tomato and garlic cream soup with a green salad topped with creamy raspberry dressing, followed by green and red ravioli filled with ricotta and shiitakes in a tarragon, garlic and butter sauce with Parmesan cheese. For dessert, there will be cheesecake with a strawberry and Syrah coulis, coffee and tea. The cost is $25 per person. For reservations, call 8835-8992 (English) or 8816-9387 (Spanish). Oasis Café is 100 meters north and 225 meters west of Vivero Exótica in San Rafael de Escazú.

Also in Escazú, chef Michael Forbes of Big Mike’s will be preparing a formal sevencourse meal for lovers looking to dine in style. On the menu will be filet mignon à la béarnaise, along with fish and vegetarian options, served with an appetizer, dessert and a glass of wine for about ¢14,500 ($26) per person. Forbes says ¢2,000 ($3.60) of each dinner will be donated to victims of last month’s earthquake. “And there will be a flower for every lady,” he adds. Big Mike’s Guest House will also offer a special room rate of ¢15,000 ($27), tax included. For information or reservations, call 2289-6087 or e-mail

Up in the hills of San Antonio de Escazú, White House Hotel, Restaurant, Casino & Spa is offering custom packages tailored to customers’ needs and budgets. Along with monthly specials of $99 for a deluxe room with continental breakfast and $99 spa treatments for two, the hotel is offering a deluxe room and breakfast package with Valentine’s dinner for two for $149 plus tax. “We can form a customized package,” says Ernesto Solórzano, marketing director. “When they call me or send me an e-mail, based on need and budget, we can come up with something that works.” For reservations or information, call 2288-6362, extension 423, or visit

West of Escazú on the old road to Santa Ana, La Luz Restaurant at the AltaHotel will host dinner specials with a red theme on Feb. 13 and 14. Specials will include lobster ravioli with a red sauce, red chili and beer-battered tilapia and a red tomato and shrimp salatini; prices had not been set at the time of writing. A limited amount of poolside romantic seating is available. For reservations, call 2282-4160.


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